On a business trip to Boston I managed to get in some time to tour a bit of the coastline and to get some photos in a couple of Massachusetts coastal towns that were built on the fishing industry. One of those towns, Gloucester, was first settled in 1623 and based its economy on fishing and shipbuilding. A reading of the early history doesn't make it sound like a very fun place to be in 1623 but amenities developed in the ensuing 400 years have improved things considerably.
Gloucester Harbor is the scene of the action here, with fishing vessels of all sizes awaiting their crews.
A lot of vessels were docked and showed no signs of activity. This could have been due to it being a Sunday but I can't say for sure. I know next to nothing about recreational fishing so it stands to reason that I know less than that about commercial fishing. It happens on boats but beyond that it's a mystery.
Even on a Sunday, however, there were a few fishermen in evidence offloading the sea's bounty. This boat motored in and unloaded several chests of fish while I was walking around the dock.
This group, on the other hand, looked more like they were out on an excursion for the day, coming in looking far more cheerful and less worn out than the first one.
All of the activity did not go without being noticed.
In fact, at times it felt like the sea birds had posted sentries to make sure I didn't move in and eat any of their fish.
Whew! Almost didn't see that one coming.
"How about some turn signals, fella?"
Apparently, something caught this one's eye, and it was time to go take a closer look. Had I hit the button a second later this guy would have been gone. Sometimes I'm good but usually I'm lucky. I'll settle for lucky anytime.
A major feature of Stacy Boulevard is the seawall with a long walkway emblazoned with American flags. It is a popular destination for tourists and residents alike.
Along the seawall is this cenotaph (empty tomb), erected in 1923 to honor the memory of those residents of the town who have perished at sea since 1623 in what may be the most dangerous profession in existence. To date, there are more than 10,000 known to have died and all who are known have their names added to a memorial wall nearby.
The six names placed there in 1991 are the crew members of the Andrea Gail, which went down during a particularly vicious storm in the Atlantic Ocean after an excursion beyond the Grand Banks to the Flemish Cap in search of a swordfish haul, and was immortalized in the movie "The Perfect Storm."
Next stop was the town of Rockport, just a few miles north of Gloucester (and was actually the source of pine for the shipyards of Gloucester prior to being settled), and Bearskin Neck, a small harbor that is a major tourist attraction now. Rockport also is home to a major granite quarry that supplied granite to a large portion of the country.
The red building is known as "Motif Number 1" and is perched on Bradley Wharf in Rockport. Long a subject for painters and artists, the the old fishing shack was destroyed in a 1978 blizzard and now an exact replica sits in its place. In the 1930s, the painter John Buckley used it as his studio, and sold it to the town of Rockport in 1945.
Another view of Motif Number 1. Behind the building are stacked a number of lobster pots while next to the wharf sit fishing vessels awaiting a crew.
A closer view of the lobster pots.
In addition to the fishing industry which is still active, albeit on a smaller scale than in years past, Rockport is a popular tourist destination. Bearskin Neck is now home to many shops that now occupy the old lobstermen and fishermen shacks that were built to support the fishing industry.
Here is one of the old shacks from the back on the entrance to Bradley Wharf.
This seawall helps protect the harbor.
A parking area for residents sits alongside the dock where dinghies are tied to ferry fishermen and recreational boaters out to their larger, more ocean-worthy craft.
Below is a bit better view.
Parking was at a premium and the town has a way of making believers out of those who can't tell the difference between a parking meter and a resident sticker.
Although it had been pretty stormy at times the skies did finally clear. Later, at a stop in Framingham, I saw the first full-arch double rainbow I have ever witnessed.
Not the full arch, but still pretty spectacular.
I hope you've enjoyed this trip to the beach. Until next time....